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Success Stories

This section provides the chance to read about real individuals and their unique journey in how the GEM Project has helped them to move closer towards employment.

Megan

Gloucester | Forwards

GEM participant Megan shares her GEM journey and how she has now set up her own business to support other organisations in becoming more accessible. 
 
"My name is Megan and I've been blind since birth. I have a degree in Creative Writing and, after graduating from my Masters in the same field last year, I was struggling to find work due to the complex formatting of job applications and reactions to my disability.
 
My Navigator Developer and I talked through various options; she helped me to fill in lots of applications and although I had plenty of ideas about what I wanted to do, nothing really struck a chord. That was until Michaela at Forwards told me about the Strive Business Course, hosted by Cheltenham Borough Homes. Starting my own business sounded appealing but also hard work. I have found that course tutors can also be unwilling to meet my access needs and was therefore anxious about getting in touch with the Strive team.
 
However, they couldn't have been more welcoming. On my first day, they emphasised that the course was flexible and would work around us. They taught me everything I needed to know and encouraged me along the way. 
 
My business is now getting off the ground and eye4Detail now has a website. I provide English tuition and offer a service to proof read documents for those who struggle to get their wording right. I use my passion for public speaking in the inclusion consultancy aspect of my work, collaborating with individuals and organisations to support them in becoming more accessible for all."


GEM

Gloucester | PATA

Prior to having children, GEM worked full time but had to give up work to look after her daughter due to the cost of childcare. As time passed, she was ready to get back into work but didn’t know where to turn.

“With being dyslexic I’ve often found it hard to do things, I felt it held me back. I tried to return to work to fit in with school hours, but nothing seemed to work. My friend told me about the GEM Project and how it could help me get a job.”

During her time on the GEM Project she completed various courses linked to working with children, a passion she was keen to pursue.
She was particularly interested in working with children with disabilities. Her Navigator Developer helped her to find some evening or online courses to complete, as well as some specialist short courses about Special Educational Needs and Disability to help avoid any childcare issues or impede on her learning. She also completed a Paediatric First Aid course and learnt Makaton to help develop her skillset. This then led to a volunteering opportunity in a special school for children with disabilities and the chance to further her qualifications.

“Now thanks to GEM I have a volunteering placement at a local school and am working towards my NVQ L2 Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools including a specific module focusing on SEND. Mary has really supported me and gave me the push I needed – I’d definitely recommend it to people in a similar situation to me!”


Honor

Gloucester | CCP

Before joining the GEM Project Honor was struggling to pay her rent. With two children and being a single Mum, she needed to find a job to suit school and childcare hours.

After a meeting with the Housing Association, she was put in touch with Navigator Developer Paul at CCP to help her find a suitable role.

Paul and Honor worked on her CV and looked together for different roles to apply for. An admin-based position came up at CCP which Honor applied for and is now working for CCP in their Cheltenham office, helping VCSE’s share their knowledge.

"I’m now no longer in rent arrears and have a role that I enjoy which fits in with school hours too. The GEM Project even helped me with childcare costs whilst I was on the project which was so helpful.

I’d definitely recommend the project to anyone even if you just need some extra help with your CV."


Dan

Gloucester | Brandon Trust

Dan was referred to the GEM Project through the enablement team after wanting to find work and get out of the house but not knowing where to turn.

“Before joining GEM I felt lonely, isolated and sad. I just stayed at home and didn’t talk to anyone.”

Sam, Dan’s Navigator Developer, worked with him to help build his confidence and provided lots of support with interview practice to get him job ready. He then applied for a role and is now a valued member of the Brandon Trust team working part time at their offices in Gloucester.

Sam comments “Being on the spectrum can make it hard to learn a new routine, so I was always on hand to support Dan, particularly when he first started his new job. He was really anxious that he would be unable to do the role, so we worked together to create a list of jobs that needed to be done and how much time to spend on each and now he’s like a completely different person; confident, capable and a model employee.”

“Earning my own money has made me much happier, I no longer feel sad. I go out much more often and have made new friends since working.”


Gail

Gloucester | Artshape

Gail shares her GEM journey so far and how art has helped her heal.

“For a long time I have struggled with quite severe mental health issues including bi-polar disorder.

Over the years, I have lost several people close to me which hasn’t helped me with my state of mind. I tended to just potter around my house and garden and turned to art in order to help me deal with things in the hope of healing me. I started working with cement and making various items including trees and teddy bears.

My artistic friend Dan, actually saw me as an artist… he brought the artist out in me and said how we should work together to create something. Unfortunately, earlier this year he also took his own life.

Then this Summer, I became involved in Gloucester Carnival and volunteered as an artist to help create some of the costumes. This led to meeting Donna at Art Shape and signing onto the GEM Project.

As part of my journey, I organised a community poppy painting workshop, inviting the local community to the Art Shape studio to paint cement poppies that I created. Last year, Dan produced various poppy paintings and I wanted to do something in order to commemorate him and his work but also do something for the local community.

Creating my art pieces has really helped me, it’s given me a focus, and I really want to help others who may also be struggling by providing an opportunity for them to get involved with art.”

The finished poppies will be placed around the local remembrance garden in Brockworth for everyone to enjoy.

 


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